Lara Marlowe of the Irish Times had a terrific lead, “We could know within two weeks whether Professor Didier Raoult, the French virologist who heads the Mediterranean infectious and tropical disease institute in Marseille, will go down in history as the man who saved the world from COVID-19, or will be dismissed as an arrogant, misguided scientist who raised false hopes.”
It worked. 18 of them tested negative after 6 days.
Marlowe wrote, “President Donald Trump apparently learned of Raoult’s experiment through a Twitter post by the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. On March 20th, Trump wrongly claimed in a White House press briefing that the US Food and Drug Administration had approved what he called “the very powerful” drug chloroquine to treat Covid-19.
“Trump was corrected by Dr Anthony Fauci, a top expert on infectious disease and a pillar of the fight against corona virus. But Trump persisted, tweeting the following day that ‘HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.’
The United States began testing this in New York, which is the nation’s leader in COVID-19 patients.
He is a known figure in a relatively unknown medical community. The American Society for Microbiology interviewed him in 2018.
It said, “Dr. Didier Raoult considers himself a ‘microbe fisher,’ always ‘fishing’ to discover new microbes. He says that in order to fish successfully, you need to first create the correct fishing pole (tools), and then fish in places where no one else is fishing.
“Dr. Raoult is the Director of the Mediterranean Infection Foundation at the Aix-Marseille University, France, and he has “caught” a number of unique microbes over the course of his career, including giant viruses.
“He’s also ‘caught’” a number of bacteria responsible for various diseases, including the causative agent of Whipple’s disease, and he even has two bacteria named after him.
“Dr. Raoult talks about what is special about giant viruses, how he found the bacterium that causes Whipple’s disease, the challenges of trying to get uncultured bacteria like Rickettsia to grow in the lab, and how he would be sailing if he weren’t a microbiologist.”
He may have caught the big one, Elizabeth.
Be cautious, but hopeful.